Using social media to connect young persons with autism

March 27, 2012
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Sara Winter has a twelve year-old nephew on the autism spectrum. She’s been his aide at school for a decade. She’s the mom of two boys, one with ADHD, anxiety and celiac disease. In Toronto, she created squag.com, a website to encourage kids of 8+ with autism. Her parent-child communication system SquagpadTM is now being tested. Kristina Chew is an Associate Professor of Classics at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey. She blogs daily about life raising her teenage autistic son, Charlie, at We Go With Him (http://autism.typepad.com) and about education, disability issues and human rights. They talk about their experience as caregivers for children with autism. They explain what communications actually means for children with autism, and how it includes special signals and, at times, silence. They discuss what they’ve learned from their children about communications and how information technology is used to help children, including their own, achieve their potentials.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Family Caregivers Unite!

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel

Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

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Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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